1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Build Your Career Get Ahead

Hate Sitting Behind a Desk? 18 Best Jobs for You

Hate Sitting Behind a Desk? 18 Best Jobs for You
Credit: Kurhan/Shutterstock

Having a successful career does not require you to sit behind a desk and plug away at a computer all day.

In fact, there are a large number of nondesk jobs in a variety of industries that are growing and thriving and offering workers a direct path to the middle class, according to a new analysis of labor market data from CareerBuilder.

In all, there are 170 non-desk occupations that pay $15 per hour or more on average, do not require a four-year degree for a typical entry-level position, and have seen at least 6 percent job growth over the last four years.

"The U.S. workforce has gradually shifted to office-based work due to the rise of the professional services economy and productivity gains associated with information technology," Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a statement. "But some of the healthiest areas of job growth year after year are in middle-skill occupations that don't require workers to sit in front of computer monitors and phones for 40 hours a week." [The 10 Best Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

Here are the top-paying jobs that don't require you to work at a desk in various categories — none of which require a four-year college degree — and their median hourly salary and growth rate since 2010:

Healthcare occupations

  • Dental hygienists: $34.19, 9 percent
  • Diagnostic medical sonographers: $31.93, 15 percent
  • Occupational therapy assistants: $26.57, 14 percent

Construction and extraction occupations

  • Elevator installers and repairers: $37.81, 6 percent
  • Boilermakers: $27.74, 6 percent
  • Rotary drill operators, oil and gas: $24.79, 47 percent

Installation and maintenance occupations

  • Electrical power-line installers and repairers: $30.85, 7 percent
  • Avionics technicians: $26.92, 6 percent
  • Signal and track switch repairers: $26.75, 11 percent

Architectural and engineering occupations

  • Mechanical engineering technicians: $25.19, 10 percent
  • Industrial engineering technicians: $25.01, 6 percent
  • Electromechanical technicians: $24.68, 8 percent

Green energy occupations

  • Wind turbine service technicians: $23.79, 21 percent
  • Solar photovoltaic installers: $19.04, 22 percent

Miscellaneous non-desk occupations

  • Locksmiths: $18.25, 10 percent
  • Massage therapists: $17.27, 17 percent
  • Travel guides: $16.26, 7 percent
  • Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors: $15.88, 8 percent

While they tend to pay less than traditional office jobs, non-desk occupations provide a variety of benefits. Haefner points to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey that discovered workers who don't work at a desk all day are two times less likely to complain about their work environment and significantly less likely to report being overweight.

The data for the analysis was provided by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., which analyzes data from more than 90 government and private resources.   

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.